Colum Elliott-Kelly

Beyond The Gimmick: Making a Difference in the Classroom Through AR

Augmented Reality ("AR") is engaging and enjoyable for students - but in such an innovative and diverse market as education technology, that's not unique. Furthermore, engagement and enjoyment, while important, do not by themselves create an effective classroom. The best, most sustainable edtech companies aim to prove what we call "genuine pedagogical impact": actually improving how - and how well - students learn. Simultaneously, they analyse why they are having that impact, how they can improve it.

What impact, then, do we see AR making? First, AR leverages more effective visualisation: anything taught better through visualisation is visualised better through AR. Second, AR (and VR) technology facilitates immersion: the student is involved more deeply in their learning content than they are when using alternative media (like screens, print materials, etc). Last, and often most impactful of all, comes the capacity for AR to allow the student to have otherwise impossible experiences, such as dangerous scientific experiments or climatic processes.

At Blippar we are constantly studying the difference we are making in classrooms, focusing our efforts to drive improvements. We put learners first. We spend a lot of our time working out whether, why and how we are helping them to achieve their goals, whether those goals are to study more creatively, learn more effectively, or engage more closely.

Colum Elliott-Kelly is Head of Education at Blippar, the world's leading visual discovery platform. Blippar's vision is to turn the world into an interactive learning environment, and the scope of the strategy covers all age levels and all geographies. Blippar’s powerful technology enables educators and publishers to enhance learning spaces and materials digitally - which students access using their smart devices. Before joining Blippar in Summer 2014, Colum co-founded and exited an e-learning start-up which brought world class lecturers and content to UK secondary schools. He is currently building a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting educational technology in the developing world, is a Governor of a state secondary school in Islington and has volunteered for several UK-based education and literacy charities. He has experience in strategic, financial and communications consultancy, and was educated at the University of Oxford.

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